The Sound Of Music – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

AlpsLove The Alps

It has been fifty-two (52) years since the Sound Of Music premiered and I have never watched it. It is hard to believe that this movie was not only a box office success but was an artistic classic.

This week, I was volunteered to attend the Sound Of Music musical at Juanita K. Hammons Hall in Springfield Missouri and being a non-musical person, I did not look forward to a performing arts rehash.

My bride of thirty (30) years plus and son of twenty-two (22) would attend with me so I thought we would make the most out of the night by eating out. It was my goal to at least get a decent meal out of the evening.

We ate at Bruno’s which is an authentic Italian restaurant in the downtown business district, and I had a small glass of house merlot and a great meal to start out the evening. I also enjoyed the company since we had not been out for dinner in some time.

Our daughter was kind enough to stay with our fur babies since our alpha male Scrappy tore his ACL and has been a pain in the butt while healing. Buddy and Roxy enjoyed the company so I figured everyone would enjoy the night even though I was going to a musical.

We arrived 45 minutes early so we could get to our seats since we were in the middle of the mezzanine in row G and everyone must have forgotten I like end seats. Anyhow, I bought a cup of Starbucks coffee which I detest but needed to keep myself awake.

Being in the middle of any row is a challenge and being an ex-submariner I make every effort to not be in the center. We experienced the typical clueless theater fans who come in on the wrong side of the theater and laugh and giggle about how they made a mistake and are so sorry to make you stand up so they can get to the correct seat.

It is times like this that you ask specific questions that I cannot repeat on this blog for numerous reasons. I can and will think them though.

Why Go To A Movie?

So the lights dim and it is time for me to take a 120-minute snooze and the show starts with Preludium sung by the Nuns of the Nonnberg Abbey cast. A bit of dust touched my eye and for some reason, my night went from being a dreaded event to a mesmerizing night at the theater.

You heard me correctly, the musical I had no desire to watch was not only the center of my attention, but there was no way I would miss a minute of it.

The cast’s performance was incredible in all aspects. Musical renditions were perfect, and the skill of the actors was on the mark. They appeared not only to know the parts but also seemed to enjoy performing for the audience.

Primary Cast Members

No matter the scene, I was transfixed, and when the intermission occurred, I was amazed that two (2) hours had nearly passed. I needed to take care of business, but there was no way I was taking a chance on missing any of the musical.

The last acts played out, and when the final curtain fell, I was sad that the Sound of Music had finished and that this magic moment in my life had come to an end.

We left the theater in awe, and after fighting traffic in the parking garage we went home for the night, and I was glad my daughter allowed me to use her ticket.

Being fifty plus going on fifteen can be heart touching at times when you find out you have missed out on a treasure and I believe the Sound Of Music is a treasure. I will now watch the original movie and hope it moves me like the theatrical version.

  • Have you ever dreaded attending a similar event and had the time of your life.
  • What are your thoughts about The Sound Of Music?

I wish you health, safety, and success. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Jay Patterson

Be Right, Not Politically Correct – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Moonwalk During Apollo Missions

 

I have been tied up traveling for a new job the last week so wanted to check in and put some words on my keyboard.

Today, we woke up to the news that John Young has passed away at the age of 87 and he was an accomplished astronaut and an American hero.

I am a child of the 60s and 70s, so I have many memories lodged in the grey matter surrounding the space program and cold war competition that involved space.

John Young participated in the Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs and traveled to space while attached to each.

  • As one of few individuals who walked on the moon, John was also one of the few squeaky wheels when it came to space program safety.
  • Most astronauts drifted off into the sunset and took advantage of fame in the civilian sector, but John Young as part of the NASA until 2004 when he officially retired in his 70s.
  • John Young impacted the world in many ways, and he lived his life based on his quote “You Don’t Want To Be Politically Correct, You Want To Be Right.”

Who can argue with a point like that? 

Well, today it seems like we have become politically correct to a fault and if we do not wake up soon, progress will be impossible because of PC.

  • The politically correct (PC) world that has evolved over the last fifty (50) years is destroying society and stifling the benefits of diversity.

Don’t Let Others Talk Over You!!

This week, I started my new career at a large, diverse corporation that is 100 plus years old and has a cosmic footprint.

  • The primary goal of the orientation class appeared oriented at getting a diverse group of people to network and communicate. These are all great things.
  • Our orientation class had US citizens, foreign citizens, foreign nationals, numerous races, and undoubtedly many more HR classifications of people.
  • We were broken up into different teams through much of the day so you had the chance to work with everyone in orientation at least once and it was a successful day I believe.

After orientation class, a few of us were not flying out until the next day, so we walked the drizzly downtown streets until we found a small pub with food and drink.

  • We had a couple of drinks, and some great local fare food and after started discussing challenges encountered in today’s world.
  • It should not be a surprise that we have people at different ends of the political spectrum at the table, so a lively conversation occurred for probably sixty (60) minutes.
  • Being of the same generational age, we had much in common, but our life experiences were significantly different resulting in what our expectations of government intervention should be.
  • We ended the conversation civilly, and although neither of us swayed, we both made some thought-provoking points and learned that although different, we were closer than thought.

Diversity And Dialogue Is Great!!!

This line of thinking brings me back to what PC is doing to our world. A short list of why PC is negative includes.

  • Reduces Dialogue – People Do Not Want To Talk.
  • Offenders Run Over others – Shout Louder And Longer.
  • Makes Society Dumber – Close Your Eyes And Ears.
  • Increased Stubbornness And Ignorance – Hunker Down.
  • Freedom Of Speech Is Compromised – You Cannot Say That.
  • This Short List Just Scratches The Surface!!

Welcome to the 21st Century where it is becoming more like 1984 where Political Correctness is reducing diversity while acting as a champion for diversity and we are scratching our heads trying to learn what the new rules of the game are.

  • With that, I will say I would rather “Be Right, Not Politically Correct.” I also must thank John Young and other heroes like him that were willing to not cave in for PC.

Please share your thoughts surrounding this subject.

  • What Are Your Thoughts On Our PC World?
  • Who Are Your Non-PC Heroes?

I wish you health, safety, and success in 2018. It sure is great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

Pull Your Finger Out Of The Dike – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

2017-2018 LeapHappy 2018

As 2018 closes, I can genuinely say that I am starting the part four of my life of which I hope there are five parts.

  • The first part of my life was my formative years in North Dakota where I grew up, and my base persona developed. Growing up in the 60s and 70s as a cop’s kid was interesting.
  • Part two of my life was my time in the Navy and initial family time where I developed further but was still wet behind the ears. During this time, I was on submarines, tenders and traveled the world.
  • The third part of my life was my civilian career where I worked for many small companies in South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Georgia, and California. During this period I honed many of my professional skills.
    • This is the period of my life I regularly had my finger(s) and other body parts in the dike to keep things running for ownership.
  • Part four of my life starts in 2018 and I will be working for a multinational company as a solutions executive where I take everything I have learned in life and work and make it stick.
  • The fifth part is unknown as of yet, but I believe I will be cruising in an RV with my bride of forty (40) plus years, with fur babies and grandchildren, while riding ATVs and side by sides.

Five Parts To LifeFive (5) Parts Of Life

So here I sit, fifty plus going on fifteen about to start a new career and this is when I reflect on what has changed or what I will modify to make the fourth part of my life a success.

I owe it to my bride, children, and me to not only challenge myself but also be content for the duration of this period of my life.

Overall, this is a significant change since I have always been the person that accepts critical fill positions, takes control of broken situations, and turns it around.

It is time for me to pull my finger(s) out of the dike to prevent flooding for ownership groups that did not always reciprocate the efforts and finally do what is right for my family and me.

DikePull My Finger Out Of The Dike

I could name specifics on the companies but will not since I left these companies sometime back but was limited in career choice due to employment agreements.

My goal was to be involved in sales during my fourth part of my life before a long-term employer sold the business to a group that did not understand the market they were entering so ended up traveling a different path the last couple of years.

This change in plans delayed my entry into part four of my life which I commence tomorrow, and I am excited that I will be working for and with an established innovation leading company.

Additionally, this change will be sales and program development oriented which was my goal career at this point in my life, so all is looking good.

With this change, I will not need to deal with:

  • Unfunded paychecks.
  • Past due vendor payments.
  • Ensuring HR is servicing employees.
  • High employee turnover rate with new ownership.
  • Customer issues based on manning and logistic challenges.
  • 365 day, 24-hour availability to resolve problems.
  • Direction to change numbers for an investment group.
  • The list goes on, but I will keep it short.

Today, I need to button up work for some of the smaller companies I have worked for and with the last two years. The experience with these companies has added more tools to my toolbox, but in the end, I need to do what is best for my family and me.

The new career decision does not change my long-term goal of establishing a small business consulting/coaching website, but that is a 3 to 5-year goal for my family and me.

Working in this new direction also gives me the ability to help develop and sell a service that is needed, so I am incredibly excited about this opportunity.

Move On To Something Bigger And Better For Part Four (4)

Please stay tuned for updates on how this goes and feel free to comment on similar situations and how you are doing.

  • What part of life are you in currently? 
  • Are there more than five (5) parts to life?
  • Have you had similar experiences and situations?

I wish you health, safety, and success in 2018. Being fifty plus going on fifteen can be exhilarating.

Happy New Year!!

Jay Patterson

How I Joined The US Navy – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

North DakotaNorth Dakota Skyline

I am proud to be from North Dakota and happy that I was able to grow up with the freedom that is almost unknown in this day and age.

In many ways, you could compare the escapades of my friends and myself much like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn although 100 plus years later and located in Jamestown North Dakota.

All good things must come to an end as they say and as I entered Senior High School, it was apparent that my future was limited in North Dakota, so I started looking at options.

-I loved auto body and auto mechanics but without a college fund and being bored in High School, my potential to attend higher education was limited.

  • There were numerous options for work in agriculture and service industries in the area, but without higher education, my Career possibilities would decrease as my body aged.
  • A military career was possible, but if this were my choice, I would need to leave my family, my friends, and the life and freedom I so enjoyed. The long-term career and training opportunity was a plus.
  • The worst direction was a career that included making big rocks into small rocks if caught. You may think that I am joking, but it was possible being the product of a law enforcement family.

During my junior year, I decided to join the military, and I wanted to be a United States Marine as my primary choice and a United States Sailor as my alternate choice.

  • I met with the Marine and Navy recruiters and decided I wanted to be a photographer or meteorologist.
  • The ASVAB test would determine what I would qualify for, so I held fast until I was old enough to test.
  • It was my goal to sign up for the Marines when I turned seventeen (17) and leave for boot camp once I graduated from high school.
  • A couple of weeks before taking the ASVAB, my dad informed me that he would not sign for me if I went into the Marines so I decided the Navy was the way to go.

RTC Great Lakes - Source: US NavyUS Navy RTC Great Lakes IL – Source: US Navy

Around the time I turned seventeen (17), the Navy Recruiter scheduled my ASVAB test in Fargo North Dakota.

  • Numerous potential recruits and I arrived at the Ramada Inn and commenced to prepare for the ASVAB by getting crocked.
  • Early the next morning we were taken to the AFEEs Station where we would take the ASVAB test, and we were all in poor shape.
  • We took the ASVAB test, and I was sure I was going to be scraping paint in the Navy since I was so hung over.
  • There was no drumroll, but there was a score provided that allowed me to choose any Navy career I wanted.
  • The recruiter was immediately on me to choose nuclear power or advanced electronics, but I wanted to be a photographer or meteorologist.

I held firm in my choices and the recruit detailer determined the timeline for me to leave for the Navy based on the need for photographers of meteorologists.

  • Shocked is an understatement when informed that the wait for these fields was at least twelve (12) months out.
  • These options had to be a set up since the recruiter and station received more points for the fields they wanted me to select.
  • It was back to the drawing board since the wait was too long for careers I preferred jobs.
  • In the end, I selected the advanced electronics field where my career was limited to a select training field.

The paperwork was submitted, and I was sworn into the Navy under the Delayed Entry Program and would leave a week after graduation in 1981.

CPOEnded Up A Chief

We have all made career decisions with limited knowledge of what to expect. In my mind, I had not only selected a career but was also anticipating an adventure.

Thanks for visiting and would appreciate your comments and/or input.

  • Have you ever leaped into the unknown when relocating or accepting a job?
  • Did you make similar decisions when joining the military?

I wish you health, safety, and success. It sure is great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

I Love Dirt Track Stock Car Racing – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Marks Dirt Track RacingJameston Speedway – Source: Marks Dirt Track Racing

Growing Up In Jamestown North Dakota in the 60s and 70s allowed you to look forward to certain events much like the seasons.

The calendar was marked specifically in order of occurrence through the year.

  • Boy Scout Fair at the Civic Center occurred in mid-March and was an indoor competition between local scout troops. My Troop won the scout fair with Finger Printing.
  • Last snowfall of the year which normally followed the first melt. This event would normally occur in late March to the middle of April.
  • Fishing season (non-ice) which started on or about April 1st. You could fish off the shores or in boats for perch, walleye, northern pike, etc.
  • Lawn mowing season would normally start about the same time as the fishing season.
  • Stock car racing season which started in early May and ended in late September or early October. This was the greatest late model and street car racing in the upper midwest.
  • School ended for summer which normally occurred on Memorial Day weekend unless there were too many snow days.
  • The Stutsman County Fair surrounding the 4th of July where the Murphy Brothers Exposition came to town. There was a midway, concerts, Joey Chitwood, tractor pulls, demolition derbies, and stock car racing.
  • School started during the Labor Day weekend and it was also the start of leave raking season and Indian summer.
  • Stock car racing ended in late September or early October and the Stock Car Stampede was the final event of the year.
  • Hunting seasons for upland game, waterfowl, deer, etc, would occur throughout the fall. My favorite was working the potholes for ducks and geese.
  • Christmas school break and ice fishing season normally started around the third week of December. School started up in early January and ice fishing continued until the ice was no longer safe to walk on.

My favorite event when growing up was stock car racing since our entire family was not only involved in it but truly attached to it.

Stock Car Racing happened every Wednesday night from early May to late September unless the races were rained out.

  • On Wednesday nights, time was short between my parents getting off work and us heading to the races so we normally had burgers from the American Legion which were delicious.
  • We would chow down the burgers while watching the Sonny and Cher show on CBS and once complete would head to the races so we could get our normal seats in front of the announcer’s booth.
  • Once at the races, we enjoyed rooting for our favorite drivers for three (3) to four (4) hours and we cursed those we did not like. Many of our favorite drivers included:
    • Mike and Rich Swangler (#10 and #12).
    • Ernie Brookings (#41)
    • Bobby Zimmerman (#13)
    • Dick Miller (#76)
  • This was our weekly family event and I would never trade it for a million dollars. I can still remember my ears ringing from the noise, dirt caked on my face, and mosquito bites everywhere. It was great.

Marks Dirt Track Racing 2

 

 

 

 

Source: Marks Dirt Track Racing

 

 

 

 

When vacation season rolled around in July, we would follow the Northern Racing Circuit for a week of racing. Jim Corcoran promoted not only the Jamestown ND tracks but also the tracks below that we visited.

  • Grand Forks ND on Friday Night.
  • Kittson County, Hallock MN on Saturday Night.
  • Riverside Speedway, Crookston MN on Sunday Afternoon.

During our vacation week, we round stay in motels, eat out, and enjoy our favorite racers at new tracks. It was so much fun.

When fall would hit, we had the Stock Car Stampede to attend which occurred over the weekend in late September or early October.

  • This was the last event of the year before the snows and was scheduled for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
  • More than 100 cars would come to compete for the large purses that were awarded to the winners.
  • Nobody held back since it was the last race of the year and I remember one year where it snowed during the races.

When the last checkered flag waved, it was clear that winter would arrive soon and another joyful season had come to an end.

Dreams were forged at the Jamestown Speedway and although as a teenager I pitted for a friend and ran a wrecker, I never drove a stock car during a race.

Marks #3Source: Marks Dirt Track Racing

  • What memories do you have of family activities or vacations that you will never forget?
  • Did you have similar dreams based on family activities or vacation?

Thanks for stopping by and I wish you health, safety, and success. It is great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

Christmas Past – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

barn in winterBarn In The Winter

2017 will be the first Christmas without my mother so it is fitting that I blog about how it was possible to have a perfect Christmas with family and few gifts.

Every Christmas, we would go to my grand parent’s farm eight miles north of Jamestown North Dakota on Highway 20. This was not a forced event as many would think but you looked forward to it.

My mother had eleven (11) siblings of which ten (10) survived past childhood. At Christmas, all that lived within the four (4) state region would drive to the farm for the annual get together for all the siblings and in-laws. Sometimes we would even have outlaws attend.

Mom As A Toddler

When I speak about inlaws and outlaws, I am referencing spouses and the current spouses were in-laws and the divorced spouses were outlaws. The kids like me were just part of the general herd.

With eleven (11) total siblings that were adults plus spouses and children, you had a significant gathering that occurred at a farmhouse with three (3) bedrooms upstairs and a partially finished basement with a pool table.

The temperatures were normally sub zero by this time of the year so most everyone was in the house or barn to keep warm and if you did go outside, your time was limited due to wind chill.

I have set the stage to allow you to understand the stock I came from and they were an interesting stock of Polish, English, and Danish ancestry.

The house had ground rules that involved the adults being upstairs unless downstairs playing pool. The grandchildren (40 plus) including myself were downstairs or outside.

Christmas lunch and dinner were served upstairs but you took your food downstairs and ate it if you were a kid and if you complained, you went without.

Lunch was normally something easy like sandwiches or pizza and I still remember thinking the mushrooms on the pizza were mouse butts.

Dinner was turkey and ham plus potluck from the siblings so you had a wide variety of food to chose from and it was normally worth the wait after being active all day.

There were plenty of activities to participate in and few involved sitting around. Common activities included:

  • Dodging the bull named Royal who would chase you as you played matador. My uncles would do this after drinking and would sometimes get the horn.
  • Snowball fights with your cousins when the snow was damp and when not manure fights were fun. It was imperative that you kept your mouth shut during either type of fight.
  • Jumping on the milk cows from the hayloft and attempting to ride them. We were not very successful at this.
  • Feeding the barn cats direct from the cow nipple during milking and did they love warm milk directly from the cow.
  • Riding a flipped over hood from a car behind the tractor through the snowy fields. You felt every rock, bump, and hole.

This is but a short list of activities us kids participated in during the day and early evening prior to opening gifts and I would not trade it for all the tea in China.

Once the meal was complete and dishes hand-washed by the older kids, Grandma and Grandpa gave each one of the grandchildren a gift specifically picked out for them.

Even though there were probably thirty (30) plus grandchildren at this time, not one grandchild received a duplicate gift and you felt so special. This would later grow to nearly fifty (50) grandchildren.

Once the gifts were opened, the older kids would return downstairs or outside until it was time to go and the younger children would normally nap.

While the kids were doing their thing, the adults were upstairs playing cards, drinking wine and beer, and bonding until somebody started a fight.

Yes, with siblings even though they were adults, the proverbial crap would sooner or later hit the fan and some member of the family would be a black sheep normally until the family summer picnic.

I can still remember watching one of the three (3) channels we received on antenna TV as the lava lamp did its thing on top of the TV while in the background there was screaming and shouting.

 

 

TVs With CRTs – Oh Yea

 

 

This part of my life was priceless and I will always cherish that I had a childhood where I was able to get barb wire cuts, a black eye from a thrown rubber milker insert, and a special gift picked just for me.

My grandparents, many of my aunts and uncles, my mother, and some cousins are no longer with us but they will always be part of my memories and heart.

 

Mom Third From Left & Siblings

 

  • What special memories do you have about your grandparents, aunts, and uncles?
  • Did you have similar family functions with the drama that was part of being a family?

Wishing you health, safety, and success. It is great being fifty plus going on fifteen but I wish I could be a kid back on the farm.

Jay Patterson

Love My Beta VCR But Lived With The VHS VCR – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

TapeNearly forty (40) years have passed since I purchased my first VCR after much research and consideration. The VCR first hit the market during the infancy of national cable television.

We did not have hundreds of channels to watch or video streaming. The only option prior to VCRs was to watch antenna TV which gave you up to four channels (4) or cable TV which gave you twenty (20) channels.

Without the internet to research, you had to use newspapers,  magazines, limited television coverage, or visit the local appliance store to determine which VCR was best.

There were two (2) primary players in the VCR war during the late 70s and early 80s. The companies and formats were Sony Beta and RCA VHS and the technology was expensive.

  • The Beta VCR cost approximately $1,000 in 1978. In today’s dollars, the Beta VCR would cost $3,750.
    • Minimum wage in 1978 was $2.65 per hour so you would need to work 1,415 hours to purchase, nearly nine (9) months.
  • The VHS VCR cost approximately $700 in 1978. In today’s dollars, the VHS VCR would cost $2,628.
    • Minimum wage in 1978 was $2.65 per hour so you would need to work 991 hours to purchase, nearly six (6) months.
  • As a comparison, the average new car cost in 1978 was $6,380 and the same car would cost $23,180 today.
  • The Beta and VHS VCRs were both a small fortune.

Owners argued about which VCR was better much like today with game consoles and smartphones.  In the end, it was not quality that won the battle but price and the limited differences between the two units.

  • At low speed, the Beta was superior to the VHS when recording but with a limited recording time on Beta, VHS was superior.
  • The Beta had a smaller tape footprint so the Beta unit normally took up less space.
  • The movies you purchased on Beta could be judged as better but the quality was not worth a price tag of 30% more.

When Beta and VHS both came out, you had to order movies using the mail and they would cost anywhere from $60 when on sale to more than $100.

  • There were no video rental stores established so your options were to purchase the movies or record the movies on television so you would capture commercials.
  • The early VCRs also did not have timers to set recording times and if it took more than one tape to record, you had to put in a new tape when the original rewound and popped out with a clunk.

Based on price and other subtle reasons, the VHS VCR won the battle by the mid-80s so many of us were stuck with worthless Beta videotapes once our Beta VCRs broke down.

I thought I would never see a Beta VCR again until I reported to the USS Newport News (SSN-750) in 1994 and found four (4) Beta VCRs onboard.

  • The funny thing is the US Navy discontinued reel to reel movies and moved to Beta VCRs on submarines instead of VHS VCRs so nobody would pilfer the movies.
  • So, in a roundabout way, I am sure Beta recovered its investment after all since the Navy had purchased $10 hammers for $300 so each Beta VCR probably cost the Navy $30,000 each.
    • Think about it, there were 400 ships in 1994 with a minimum of four (4) Beta VCRs per ship for a total of 1,600 Beta VCRs.
    • The Navy’s invested value would probably be $48 million.
    • It looks like I should have invested in Beta VCRs after all.

Unluckily, VHS and Beta only paved the road for Video DVDs that came along not ten (10) years later. Since that time, technology has just marched on.

  • Beta and VHS VCRs may be obsolete but I still miss the first time I popped the Great Escape in and watched a movie on my schedule without commercials. What a feeling of freedom in the late 70s.
  • There are many other long-lived and short-lived formats that were utilized to watch movies at home but the VCR tape and DVD format were the leaders.

Although this was a quick overview about Beta and VHS, I must ask:

  • What did you first watch movies at home on? 
  • Did you prefer Beta or VHS?

Wishing you health, safety, and success. Isn’t it great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

Belated Honeymoon To The Black Hills – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

When my bride and I were married in 1987, we immediately left for New London Connecticut after the wedding since I was on military orders from San Diego. Renee’s brother traveled with us since he could not find a well-paying job in North Dakota had just graduated high school, so the trip was not very romantic.

It was our plan to go on a honeymoon after we arrived in Connecticut but between pets, kids, submarines, tenders, retirement, civilian careers, etc, we never enjoyed a honeymoon. We went on vacations, weekend trips, day trips, and dates but never punched that ticket.

Our 25th anniversary occurred in 2012 and we planned to enjoy a belated honeymoon. Unluckily, I was advanced to SVP of Field Service during this same timeframe, so we held off on a honeymoon again.

After I left my job in 2016, we decided we were going to enjoy our belated honeymoon, but our budget would not allow us to travel to St. Thomas or Hawaii, so we decided to go tent camping and UTVing in the South Dakota Black Hills.

Renee planned the trip and licensed the UTV, so we could travel on the trails, logging roads, and highways legally. We took off without the kids and dogs for a week-long adventure in God’s country.

We arrived in Deadwood South Dakota and located the campground we were staying at. We unloaded the UTV from the trailer, set up the tent, and inflated the air mattresses.

There were a few hours before dusk, so we started running the logging roads and trails towards Mount Custer. We passed open fields, pastures, abandoned farms, and forest areas that were cut long ago.

Traveling around a corner at about 20 miles per hour (MPH) with the afternoon sun in our eyes, we hit a large rut in the road and I heard a loud scream from Renee.

We stopped immediately, and it was obvious that the seat belt dislocated Renee’s shoulder. I walked over to her side of the UTV and popped it back into the socket. Renee can be a tough old bird at times.

BH TrailsRenee Next To UTV All Good As New

We traveled on a skinny trail that wound around Mount Washington that started out about ten (10) feet wide at the bottom and ended up no more than five (5) feet wide at the top. The UTV is 50 inches wide and the drop off was 100 plus feet so we took our time until we arrived at the summit.

The view at the top of Mount Custer was inspiring and after taking in the beginning of dusk, we crept back down the trail and returned to camp to eat supper (dinner), finish setting up camp and start a fire to keep us warm.

Mt CusterMount Custer Half Way Up

Early the next morning, we were awakened to the sound of cows mooing. We slowly climbed out of the tent realizing that tent camping was much harder when you are fifty plus going on fifteen, but we would tough it out.

The sun was just breaking the eastern horizon and to our surprise, there was a herd of cattle in campground grazing on the campground grass and leaving organic landmines for unsuspecting patrons to enjoy.

As if that was not enough, cowboys’ road into the campground to herd the cattle back into the pasture they had escaped from. The trip had started out interesting.

CowThe Leader Of The Pack

We cleaned up, ate a light breakfast, and verified Renee’s shoulder was okay before we took off to ride trails and logging roads in the national forest.

During the next eight (8) hours, we put on roughly 100 hard miles climbing mountains, traveling through canyons, sitting by high mountain lakes, hiking stream beds, and enjoying a cold lunch that was perfect for God’s country.

Mounain LakeMountain Lake

That evening, we returned to camp and treated ourselves to supper at the small café at the lodge with a cold Coors. I would not travel twelve (12) hours to eat at the café again but I would enjoy the backroads of the Black Hills.

The next morning, we rolled off the air mattresses again (a little slower on day 2) and we were not greeted by a herd of cattle but instead by a few deer.

We ate breakfast and broke up the camp loading the UTV and all camping gear on the trailer. We were on the road by 8 AM to our next honeymoon destination, Medora, North Dakota.

It took us nearly thirty (30) years to enjoy our long overdue honeymoon. Although we were a little long in the tooth to tent camp for a week, we had a great week and fond memories.

It would be great to hear if you have experienced similar trips.

  • Are you overdue for a trip and what/where is the reason/destination?
  • Have you taken an overdue trip? Share details if you want.

Wishing you health, safety, and success. Tent camping is a little tougher when you are fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

Sometimes The Best Decision You Can Make Is Saying “Your Fired” – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Never Stop

It is tough as a manager or as an employee to decide to fire an employee that works for you, the company you work for, and/or a company you do business with.

Sure, you can always figure out a reason to not fire but in most situations, if the thought passed your mind, it is probably the right decision.

I have been in this position during my military and civilian careers and I want to again state that if you have thought it, firing is probably the right decision.

In the military, it was extremely difficult to fire someone even when you had the proper documentation and historical issues.

During my time in the military, one situation is still painful since I tried to get the sailor removed from submarine service and was unsuccessful.

  • The reason why the sailor needed to be fired from submarine duty was mental instability. Mental health experts nixed my request and sadly, the kid committed suicide a few months after he was stationed on a submarine.

While in the military, there were many situations where personnel needed to be fired and may or not have been for many reasons.

  • The primary reason personnel was not fired was that the goal fleet size was 500 ships, so all sailors were critical.
  • Firing sailors normally involved transferring an individual from an operational vessel to a vessel in the shipyards of similar.
  • Some sailors were fired but if they were it was normally due to drugs, alternate lifestyles, or similar situations.

Late in my military career, it became much easier to fire people when the Navy was being downsized after the end of the cold war but that is not to say the best people were maintained.

Twenty (20) plus years ago I joined the civilian workforce after retiring from Navy and I quickly learned it was just as difficult to fire someone on the outside as in the military. I also learned that you could fire the company you worked for an experienced customer/vendor firing.

  • My first civilian job was a computer monitor repair facility In South Dakota whose primary customer was Gateway Computers. I worked as the assistant plant manager and quickly realized that it was difficult to terminate crackheads that damaged thousands of dollars of inventory so after six (6) months decided to fire the company.
  • I next worked for an international sales and service company as a remote technician in Iowa and once again it became clear that firing technicians that did not want to work were nearly impossible. Later I was advanced to a district management position and the management team goal was to overwork those that worked and live with those that did not work After Y2K, I fired this company.
  •    For the next sixteen (16) plus years, I worked for a sales and service company that had a goal to cover the entire US market. I started my career as a technician and ended it as the Senior Vice President Of Operations. We did a pretty good job of keeping our workforce cleaned up through firing and hiring until the company was placed on the market for sale in 2014. We were purchased in 2015 and challenges with new ownership and lack of scruples resulted in my firing them in early 2016.
  • In 2016, I started consulting for businesses and worked short term W2 jobs trying to find the right place for my third long-term career. I have fired several customers, vendors, employers, and employees during this timeframe and I still believe sometimes you need to say, “Your Fired”.

Saying “Your Fired” should be a two-way street between employers and employees much like between customers and businesses.

  • Perhaps that sounds harsh, but I have realized since leaving my second-long term career in 2016 is that if the relationship is not right in the first three (3) months, staying longer is not a recipe for success.
  • Furthermore, there have been many situations where I have run into individuals I have had to let go for various reasons and they thanked me because it helped them find a career that fits better.

Please leave comments and thoughts regarding this subject and specifically what are your thoughts on the following questions.

  • Have you ever fired an employer and was it best for you and the employer?
  • Have you ever been fired as an employee and was it best for you and the employer?

Appreciate your visiting my blog and wish you health, safety, and success. It is great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson

Why Do I Write An Editorial Blog – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Jay on ATVRiding My ATV At Cloud 9
You may ask why someone would write an editorial blog and if anyone would read it when written since there are so many editorials out there. I cannot tell you why others do this but I can tell you why I do this.

The reason I blog is that I need a way to release my thoughts, concerns, etc., for personal, professional, and other reasons. How did I get here?

In 2015, my life went through a number of twists and turns that were unexpected but who can really anticipate twists and turns since they just happen. Some of these twists included:

  • My mother experienced a serious stroke during the Superbowl that resulted in her residing in a nursing home for the remainder of her life.
    • Weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly trips between North Dakota and Missouri the norm through all of 2015.
  • The company I worked for was sold to an investment company in March and with that sale, my position was significantly impacted even though I was asked to stay on for twelve (12) months.
    • Much travel was required for work between our Missouri and Illinois offices.
  • All other senior staff at the company I worked at were terminated by the end of 2017 except for myself.
    • I was the source of information for corporate history, information, and blame.

2016 ended up being a year of transition for me since the downhill trend continued from 2015.

  • The new management team and I disagreed on reporting accuracy.
    • Accurate reporting without massaging, tweaking, etc. was a must.
  • Decisions were made by the new management team with limited input from knowledgeable employees.
    • Changes impacting key competencies were made without being vetted.
  • I decided to move on and work as a consultant for other companies.
    • Increased flexibility to travel home to see my parents.

2017 rolled around and I decided to work as a full-time employee since I was not able to invest the time to develop a customer base for consulting so I had breaks between jobs.

  • I was hired by a local sales and service company to transition them from shrink mode to grow mode.
    • The company decided they did not want to go through the pain of transitioning so we parted ways.
  • After forty (40) years of working without a significant break, I decided to take some time to figure out what I wanted to do.
    • This is when I initially started to blog and research other options including franchises, full-time employment, sales, etc.
  • Being offered an opportunity to help develop sales and support for a small company that has a national presence, I decided to accept the offer.

Unluckily, in May 2017, my mother’s health continued to decline and she passed away after a long fight. I was devastated by her death even though I had years to prepare for it.

During this time, I also realized that I had not emotionally dealt with my professional life either and had to get right both personally and professionally.

I started writing a journal but over time that was not enough to deal with the issues listed above so I decided to write an editorial blog to:

  • Get right personally since I do not have my mom to talk to.
  • Share professionally since I do not have my long-established circle of employees, peers, etc.
  • Deal with issues, challenges, etc. regarding being fifty plus going on fifteen.
  • Provide a boost to those that are fifty plus since it is not a death sentence.
  • Vent as required.
  • What do you do to help maintain personal and professional stability?

I want to thank each of you for visiting this blog and wish you health, safety, and success. It is great being fifty plus going on fifteen.

Jay Patterson